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I break apart from him, finding strength to push against his chest. Our mouths separate, but my hands remain pressed against him. I can feel the deep rise and fall of his chest, and knowing he feels what I feel is almost enough for me to pull him back to my mouth.

“Trey,” I say breathlessly. “I’m with Trey now.”

Owen squeezes his eyes shut, like the sound of his name is painful to hear. He’s breathing so heavily, he has to catch his breath before he responds. He opens his eyes and fixes his gaze on mine. “Your commitment is the only part of you that’s with Trey.” He lifts his hand and presses his palm over my shirt, against my heart. “Every other part of you is with me.”

His words affect me more than his kiss. I try to inhale, but his hand pressed against my heart isn’t allowing it. He takes a step closer until we’re flush together. His palm is still pressed to my chest, but now his other arm is wrapped around my lower back.

“He doesn’t make your heart feel like this, Auburn. He doesn’t make it so crazy that it tries to beat through the walls of your chest.”

I close my eyes and lean into him. I think my body makes the choice for me, because my mind has certainly lost all control. I press my face against his neck and listen quietly as our breaths fail to slow. The longer we stand here and the more he says, the heavier our need grows. I can feel it in the way he holds me. I can hear it in the desperate plea of his voice. I can feel it with every rise and fall of his chest.

“I get why you had to choose him,” he says. “I don’t like it, but I understand it. I also know that giving one night to me doesn’t take away the fact that you might be giving him forever. But like I said . . . I’m selfish. And if one night with you is all I can get, then I’ll take it.” He lifts my head off his shoulder and tilts my face up to his. “I’ll take whatever you’re willing to give me. Because I know that if you walk out that door, then ten years from now . . . twenty years from now . . . we’ll wish we had listened to our hearts when we think back on tonight.”

“That’s what scares me,” I tell him. “I’m afraid if I listen to my heart once, I’ll never figure out how to ignore it again.”

Owen lowers his mouth to mine, and in a whisper he says, “If only I could be so lucky.” His mouth connects with mine again, and this time I’ve very aware of every part of me. I’m pulling him to me with as much desperation as he’s pulling at me. His mouth is everywhere as he kisses me with relief, knowing this kiss is me agreeing to whatever he’s asking of me. It’s my way of telling him he can have tonight.

“I need you upstairs,” he says. “Now.”

We begin to make our way across the floor of the studio, but neither of us can keep our mouths or hands off each other, so it takes us a while. Once we reach the stairs, he begins to back up them, making it even harder to continue kissing. When he sees we aren’t getting anywhere, he finally grabs my hand and turns around, pulling me up the stairs until we’re in his apartment.

When his mouth meets mine again, it’s a completely different kind of kiss than the one we were just sharing. He cradles my head between both of his hands and he kisses me slowly. Soft and deep and full of highs and lows and depth.

He kisses me like I’m his canvas.

He grabs both of my hands and intertwines his fingers with mine. His forehead meets mine when his kiss comes to an end.

No one has ever made me feel this much. Not even Adam. And maybe the way I feel being kissed by him is a feeling that is so rare, it’s something I’ll never experience again after tonight.

That thought terrifies me, and also seals my fate until tomorrow morning, because whatever I feel with Owen shouldn’t be taken for granted. Not even for the sake of loyalty to Trey.

And I honestly don’t care what kind of person that makes me.

“I’m scared I’ll never feel this again with anyone else,” I whisper.

He squeezes my hands. “I’m scared you will.”

I pull back and look at him, because I need him to know that my feelings for Trey will never match this. “I’ll never have this with him, Owen. Not even close.”

He makes a face that isn’t full of relief like I expected. In fact, it’s almost as if I said something he doesn’t want to hear. “I wish you could,” he says. “I don’t want to think of you having to spend a lifetime with someone who doesn’t deserve you.”

He wraps his arms around me, and I bury my face in his neck again. “That’s not what I meant,” I say. “I’m not saying he deserves me any less than you do. I just feel a different kind of connection with you, and it scares me.”

His hands grip the nape of my neck, and he moves his mouth to my ear. “You may not think he deserves you less than I do, but that’s exactly what I’m saying, Auburn.” His hands lower until he grips my thighs, and then he lifts me. He carries me across the room and lowers me down onto the bed. He slides on top of me, cradling my head between his forearms. He kisses me gently on the forehead, then again on the tip of my nose. His eyes meet mine, and he looks at me with more sincerity and honesty than I’ve ever seen in them before. “No one deserves you like I do.”

His hands meet the button on my jeans, and he unbuttons them. His lips rest against my neck as he continues to convince me with his words that this is exactly where we need to be. “No one sees you like I do.”

I close my eyes and listen to the sound of his voice. I wait as he removes my jeans, anticipating the touch of his hand against my skin. His palms slide up the sides of my legs and then his mouth is against mine again.

“No one understands you the way I do.”

He presses himself against me at the same time his tongue slips inside my mouth. I moan, and the room begins to spin, and the combination of his words and his touch and his body on mine are like gasoline on a fire. He begins to pull my shirt and bra over my head and I do nothing to help him or stop him. I’m useless against his touch.

“No one makes your heart beat like I do.”

He kisses me, pausing only to remove his shirt. I somehow regain control of my senses when I realize my hands are pulling at his jeans, attempting to remove them so I can feel him skin to skin.

He presses his palm against my heart. “And no one else deserves to be inside you if they can’t get there through here first.”

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